events

Survey on 'Why top level executives attend conferences'

In an effort to learn more about the conferencing behaviours of Fortune 1000 executives, Goodman Lantern conducted a survey featuring 191 top-level panelists. Our main aim was to discover why these executives choose to attend certain business events, how they research upcoming conferences, and what motivates them to participate as exhibitors or sponsors rather than attending in an observational capacity.

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Determining the “Worth” of Attending an Event

An overwhelming 62.6% of respondents choose to attend conferences based on the quality of marketing and communication received before the event. The second-most popular method, ranking in at 41.3%, of decision-making in this regard is learning about these events from peers and colleagues.

Reasons for Attending an Event

One of our main motivators in conducting this survey was to discover why Fortune 1000 executives attend certain conferences and events. Most of our panelists, around 68.9%, claimed that these events presented a wealth of networking opportunities – clearly a driving force behind making their decisions. The runner-up reason for attending events was to meet experts and speakers face-to-face, a motivating factor for nearly 31% of our panelists. At least 21.1% of the executives interviewed stated that they saw event attendance as a way to invest in themselves and their professional endeavours.

Motivation for Sponsoring or Exhibiting at an Event

According to 51.3% of our participants, industry reports and knowledge produced at the event form the bulk of their motivation for exhibiting at or sponsoring an event. The next-highest motivator, 39.9%, for our panelists was the quality of attendees. Additionally, 22.6% of our survey participants stated that a speaking slot was motivation enough for attending a conference.

Produce industry reports and knowledge for your conference via Zero Cost Content via Goodman Lantern's research platform.

How to Attract Millennials to your Event

Millennials are a highly educated generation, with 61% of them attending college, that are a valuable addition to any event. With the oldest millenials in their mid-30s, they are guaranteed to shape the event landscape for quite some time.

Get your Mobile Friendliness in Check

If there's one thing your website needs to be, it's mobile friendly. Many internet users do their searching, researching, and browsing on mobile devices. With lifestyles that seem to centre around being on the move, it comes as no surprise that mobile device usage has increased exponentially over the last few years.

Encourage Peer Engagement

Most millennials love to interact with each other. The fact of the matter is that they're more likely to attend an event if their friends are going. By adding share buttons to your website and offering group discounts, you're almost guaranteed to attract more millennial attendees.

Get Used to Social Media

Millennials are particularly keen on social media. It fulfills their inherent desires to be heard, to compete, and to cooperate on a large scale. With so many social media platforms at your disposal, there is no earthly reason NOT to employ social media marketing tactics. Offer your social media followers special discounts and competitions. Do whatever you can to boost engagement.

While social media is great prior to your event, it's even better onsite. Promote live commentary, videos, and photos. You'll be generating a buzz that lasts well beyond the event itself.

Evening Events: Why they Matter

Evening events at conferences often get a bad rap. Most event planners find themselves wondering whether hosting an evening event is worth the trouble at all. After a long day of meetings, talks, and manning exhibition stands, attendees may question whether or not they have the resilience to stay after hours...unless the experience is worth it.

An Opportunity for Networking

In general, huge conferences are often a little too bustling for any real networking opportunities. Evening events present attendees with a space to relax and unwind; to mingle with their peers and perhaps find a chance to fit in some relatively "chilled" networking, should the opportunity present itself.

For instance, many attendees who spend their day scrambling through busy conference hall look forward to some down-time. They enjoy a scheduled evening event which provides a much-needed chance to chat to vendors, sponsors, speakers, and industry leaders.

Emphasis on Personal Brand

While the main conference is centered around the vendors and sponsors, an evening networking event presents attendees with the opportunity to showcase their personal brand. These business networking events are an amazing way to keep abreast of any important trends in the industry.

Foster Professional Relationships

Personal and professional growth should be the end goal of every event attendee. Of course, walking away with a number of useful contacts is an absolute must. Evening events present the perfect opportunity to build new relationships. They offer a chance to focus on maintaining existing relationships. All in all, there is no doubt that an open and relaxed setting is better suited to forming new acquaintances.

Education without Boredom

Conferences, as a whole, are designed to educate and hopefully inspire. Unfortunately, the massive nature of the main event can lead to an impersonal feel. The fact of the matter is that people absorb information better when there is a personal feel to it.

Evening events present the opportunity for vendors and attendees to connect on a one-on-one basis. In fact, nothing boosts the ability to absorb information quite like a simple face-to-face conversation.

 

Event Aftermath: An Event Manager's Work is Never Done

Your event was a raging success. Exhibitors left feeling as though their ROI was well worth it. Consumers left feeling like they really found a few gems. Everyone managed to fit in some fantastic networking. All in all, your job as an event manager is well done. Right? Wrong. In this highly competitive industry, there really is no rest for the wicked...or for event professionals either. Once your event is done and dusted, the real work begins.

Recognize the Event-Cycle as a Delicate Process

As an event manager, one of the most important things you need to realise is that events are cyclic in nature. The aftermath of your event is just as important as its conception and launch.

At the completion of your event you have the opportunity to collect invaluable feedback and data. Essentially, these post-event details help you to iron out the creases for your next event. You have the chance to learn from your successes and mistakes in order to greatly improve your skills.

Mind your Manners

Thank-yous are an important part of the post-event procedure. After a strenuous, busy, and challenging event, Fatigue may try to convince you that thank you notes are overkill. Ignore that little voice. You need to thank everyone who participated in the event. It helps to keep the memory of the event fresh in their minds.

Better still; go the extra mile and personalise those thank-yous to make sure your good impression last even longer. Acknowledge every single person involved in making the magic happen from your side as well; it's not just about attendees and vendors.

Reach Out on Every Platform

Social media is your greatest friend in terms  of post-event tasks. In most cases, event manager's place a heavy emphasis on social media engagement in the period before the event. During the event this engagement reaches a plateau. After the event, there seems to be a distinct lack of conversation aside from the cursory "thank you for attending" update.

People love to talk about their experiences. So, encouraging online conversation after the event is a great way to build an audience that will be interested in the next one. Share content from the event. Encourage vendors, sponsors, and attendees to tag themselves and share your tweets and updates. Engage as much as you can.

Maintain your Website

Website maintenance is seriously underrated. Too many event professionals are only concerned about their website directly before an upcoming event. What you need to remember is this: stale content hurts your image.

Directly after your event you have the opportunity to update your website with a goldmine of content. People want to see what you've done - they want to know that you kept any promises you made prior to the event. Additionally, forgetting to freshen up your site can make you look lazy or careless; which isn't really the impression you want to give.

In addition to your regular post-event duties (balancing the books, debriefing the team, etc) the above tasks can greatly improve your event-cycle overall. Try not to take them lightly.

Snapchat Finds its Footing in the Event World

Snapchat_Logo_Goodman Lantern Blog Social media continues to take the world by storm. Despite the fact that it may feel as though the current “big bosses” in social media are the only ones that matter, the fact is that social media really is in its infancy. It will continue to grow and evolve at a remarkable rate - after all, that’s the nature of the concept in its entirety.

Whenever a new social media platform is established, it is adopted by younger, more techno-savvy users. As the user base expands to include previous generations, these new brands begin to dip their toes into the realms of highly competitive B2C marketing. At this point, influencers, celebs, and advertisers throw themselves into the mix; and then its just a matter of time before event organisers find a way to get in on the ground floor of the action.

This is where Snapchat is at the moment. At the precipice of popularity.

What is Snapchat? Is it Just for Kids?

Until recently, teens have been the epicentre of the user-adoption rate for Snapchat. The messenger aspect of the app seems to be its biggest selling point. It’s all about image-sharing kicked up to a new level. The instant messaging aspect of the app is also what attracts teens, like AIM did a generation ago.

Snapchat messages disappear after 24 hours. This ghost-message effect is what put marketers off the app initially, and it is probably responsible for the app’s slow growth over the last few years. Quite obviously, marketers want their messages to stick around for a good while - after all, that’s the entire point of engaging with your audience, right? Well, perhaps marketers could find a way to spin this ghostly feature in their favour.

Don’t Fall Behind

Employing the FOMO (fear of missing out) tactic is something that event organisers have been doing for decades. In essence, Snapchat uses FOMO to create somewhat of an addiction. Users crave the knowledge of trending news and posts that won’t be around forever. There’s a delightful edginess to it that other social media apps are lacking.

Most social media platforms are a constant stream of identical calls-to-action. Users are beginning to find these constant ads fairly tiresome - there’s nothing new to keep their curiosity piqued. There is a growing cynicism that prevents users from developing an interest in event posts that they have seen a hundred times and will continue to see a hundred more.

Event professionals need to market the most exciting aspect of their industry: the fact that it’s all temporary. If you only have one chance to view content before it disappears or attend an event before it’s all over, chances are you’re going to invest more of your time and interest. This is the magic that apps like Snapchat are able to capture.

Distraction: The Downfall of any Event

It doesn’t come as a surprise that distraction is the slow death of any event. Attendee interaction is the top requirement for a successful live event - happy, engaged guests are one of your biggest marketing tools. Word of mouth, whether via an online platform or in person, is still the best way to measure success. If your guests are bored, you can pretty much expect those live tweets to do some serious damage to your brand. If your guests are entertained and amused, they’ll take to social media in the aftermath for a storm of positive feedback. Who’s to Blame for Attendee Distraction?

Organisers across the globe are blaming mobile devices for attendee distraction; hoping to find a way to ban electronic devices from their events. Unfortunately, in the Age of Technology these event professionals don’t have a leg to stand on. As a modern event organiser you have two responsibilities: - Keep attendees engaged enough that they aren’t desperate to use their mobile devices for salvation. - Ensure that attendees can engage on their mobile devices with virtual goodie bags and entertaining media.

Organisers are in no position to shift the blame. With so many different ways to keep engagement levels high, it should be impossible to have throngs of disgruntled attendees leaving the event ahead of time.

Mobile Devices are Here to Stay

While roughly 40% of respondents in a recent survey agreed that it would be ideal for attendees to turn off their mobile devices before the onset of any meeting, the fact of the matter remains the same: we don’t live in an ideal world, so keep dreaming.

Most people own more than one mobile device. They need to remain online for work and personal reasons. Mobile devices are slowly but surely becoming a lifeline that most people are not happy to live without. Banning devices at events is risky for one simple reason; you run a high risk of alienating your target audience.

Use Mobile Distraction to Your Advantage

Instead of fighting mobile devices, it is in your best interests to use them to your advantage. Use effective engagement techniques via popular mobile apps to get the right kind of conversations going. Live polling is a major plus, especially when you consider the fact that you’re almost guaranteed to get more feedback than you would during a regular Q&A. People tend to be more comfortable interacting in their comfort zone (via mobile device) than they do when they are put on the spot.

 

 

It's Time for Marketers to Hedge Their Bets on Augmented Reality

Once thought of as a gimmicky approach to advertising, augmented reality is rapidly taking the marketing world by storm. Previously relying on klutzy QR code use cases, augmented reality campaigns were limited to simplistic video launches from a poster or product. In 2016 and 2017, however, we have much more to look forward to. Immersive Experiences are the Way Forward

Augmented reality is all about bringing digital objects into the “real world.” This is a little different to its cousin, virtual reality, which transports the user into a different space, serving as a distraction rather than the sought-after immersive experience so popular at marketing events today. Currently, advertisers seem to operate on a principle of consumer distraction - an approach that is rapidly becoming passé.

According to Text100, "The augmented reality apps market is expected to generate revenues in excess of $3.2 billion this year." The reason for this is simple: most SmartPhones are ready for this type of technology, making the entire development process much less of a hurdle than it would normally be. Generally speaking, augmented reality apps rely on behaviour that modern mobile phone users are completely familiar with. Watching a video, listening to a song, or taking a photo are intrinsic parts of every user's daily life.

Consider the benefits of launching a marketing event for a range of products, attendees simply lift their phones in the motion of taking a photo and are instantly immersed in an interactive shopping experience?

Visual Search is the Next Step

"Visual search" is a subset of augmented reality allowing SmartPhone users to snap a picture of a television screen or static advertisement, instantly receiving the full range of information they would need before making a purchasing decision.

At events where immersive experiences are all the rage, screens could easily be set up to allow for an attendee's journey of discovery. There is something infinitely more rewarding about discovering pertinent information oneself instead of being talked at or read to from a stuffy podium.

Immediately Measurable Results

One of the greatest benefits for marketers is the fact that augmented reality campaigns are immediately measurable. Some quick investigation from their desktops will show results regarding in-app camera click, the type of device used, the gender, location and time of engagement. This is the type of brand-owned insight that enables marketers to track certain behaviours that until recently have remained a somewhat "closed book".

Essentially, with the right approach, augmented reality can turn modern marketing its head - in the best possible way, of course.

 

Wearable Technology Trends to Look Out For

According to Statista, 2014 was hailed by many tech publications and experts as the “Year of the Wearable". The burning question, at this point, is whether or not the trend will continue to grow or whether it will begin to slowly fizzle out in the same way that many similar gimmicks have in the last few decades. Here's the astounding prediction: The global wearables market is expected to reach a value of 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

Healthcare is the Step Up from Sports and Fitness

Currently, the most popular wearable technology is focused on fitness. Over the next few years, however, the focus will shift towards healthcare. According to information detailed in a report by Aditya Kaul,  "Advanced sensor technology, miniaturization of hardware, and smart artificial intelligence algorithms will help bring wearables into the forefront of the fight against chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Expect to have your smart watch warn you about a stroke or heart attack, days in advance, which is when wearables will start to be taken much more seriously."

This is great news for businesses in the health sector, who wish to get the edge on their competitors.

SleepTech is About to Take Off

While not necessarily a "wearable" item, the Nuyu Sleep System only works when a user is lying directly on top of it. So, in a similar manner to all other wearables, direct contact must be maintained in order for the device to work.

The premise behind the device is the fact that our bodies struggle to fall asleep due to the constant exposure to wireless technology. The Nuyu Sleep System retails at roughly $500, and claims to help people“fall asleep and stay asleep” by enabling users to “get back in touch with their body’s natural rhythm so they can sleep comfortably.”

Imagine the possibility of launching an interactive spa simulation where event goers are enticed by technology-driven relaxation.

Visual-Based Wearables

For a while, it seemed as though smartglasses and similar devices were seriously lagging behind smartwatches. The advent of technology like Oculus Rift proves otherwise. We are rapidly approaching a time when consumers can completely immerse themselves in virtual reality and augmented reality experiences - something that event marketers are already beginning to use in their planning processes.

 

Using Big Data to Launch Successful Events

As a rule, customer insights have always been based on data - sheets of digits, all representing a facet of the prospective and existing client base’s personality. The downfall of this approach has always been the impersonal nature of the system itself. Numbers don’t allow room for shades of grey, subtle differences in opinion, or unique insights - a limitation which requires assistance. Increasingly however, event organizers are utilizing opinion surveys, social media, mobile apps, and many other tools to learn out the personalities of attendees. This enables events to be more appropriately angled to the preferences of attendees and a far more memorable experience all round, as a result. The upside of this is that memorable experiences lead to word-of-mouth popularity, building exposure and future successes for your event. It’s not enough to use just one or the other either - they work best as two independent sections of a combined approach to understanding as much about attendees as possible and using that knowledge to give them what they need. Dataops.co has managed to reduce the differences between data and intelligence into a simple and relatable statement: “Business Intelligence helps find answers to questions you know. Big Data helps you find the questions you don’t know you want to ask.” Clearly, the ideal scenario is a combination of the two, weighted appropriately to best serve the individual event organizer’s demographic.

 

Omni-Channel Marketing: The Next Big Hit at Your Event

Goodman Lantern Omni Channel Marketing The marketing world is constantly awash with new buzzwords, but few have such potential to revolutionize the events industry than, “omni-channel marketing.” This concept is built around the expanding interaction opportunities that organizers can make use of to provide attendees with an engaging event experience, regardless of the channel they choose to experience it through. Mike Stocker of Marketo Marketing Blog said it perfectly:"Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.” It’s essentially as simple a concept as that, providing a cohesive experience that brings your brand right out into their favourite channel, be it a physical event, website, social media channels, or mobile app. As with any ‘new’ development, there are a number of trends emerging that can be put into effect at events, to skyrocket the quality and depth of the attendee’s experience.

One of the biggest necessities is for event managers to regularly review and interact with the channels that prospective and confirmed attendees interact with. It’s of utmost importance to find out what the customer is experiencing so that it can be constantly honed and polished to become the best possible set of end-user experiences possible, building anticipation, hype, and word-of-mouth marketing amongst the various channels. Stocker recommends that, “If possible, these tests should be performed by external and internal testers,” which will help to grow a balanced view of what works and what can be improved upon.

In a recent Think with Google article, Julie Krueger summarizes that companies need to be “measuring behavior, providing localized information, and creating the right organizational structure.” In simple terms, learn about your attendees’ habits, tell them what they need to know in a way they can connect with, and begin to focus every facet of your organization on matching the traits of your target market. Consumers can see through corporate pretense to a greater degree of clarity with every passing day, forcing event organizers to market and exist authentically, in line with their stated values. This increasing transparency and conformation to the market is a fast-growing trend that sets events aside from those grown from more stone-aged thinking.

Another trend that is rapidly gaining popularity is the intelligent use of existing client databases. iVend.com’s Kamal Karmakar points out that, “Using purchasing history to their marketing advantage, brands can target consumers with relevant messages that will help capture attention and as a result drive conversions.” The key point here is not exploitation of private information, but rather simply referencing their purchase history to gauge where their specific area of interest lies, the channels they prefer to use, and the types of events they gravitate toward.

It’s about getting the personal interactions going, curating communications based on the individual, and building rapport with loyal attendees on any channel they choose.

Experience-Focused Events - A Major Trend for the Foreseeable Future

  Goodman Lantern - Experience Based Events -Blog

The corporate world is continuously evolving as new people, companies, and ideas enter the market. Younger generations are forever influencing the business world as they grow older, eventually joining the ranks and continuing to precipitate change from within. With each new generation, comes new progression and a slightly different set of values – ultimately necessitating a review of old practices in the interests of staying current. As corporations and their employees evolve, so do their requirements from their company, especially when targets have been reached and exceeded. Accordingly, the old faithful corporate event scenarios have become tiresome, making way for new ideas to keep attendees engaged. SparkSight’s Jessica Martinez suggests the strategic use of 4 interactive social tools; photo booths, a live social feed wall, games, and even mobile apps.

Tina Benson of Team Tactics made the point perfectly, stating that, “What an event brings to delegates and attendees is, by definition, an experience.” The key difference between a standard event and an experience is sheer depth of impact. Quirky, cleverly organized events are the new direction that the corporate world is moving towards, replacing the overplayed fallback of hiring a ballroom and a band. To make a lasting impression on event attendees, the focus needs to be on engagement – a sense of community, purpose, and belonging. In an article for the Huffington Post, Louis Efron uses his father’s career with IBM to communicate the importance of total immersion in making employees feel like they belong to a larger family. In Efron’s case, IBM got it right; "My father worked there for 18 years when I was young and I still fondly remember IBM’s two annual events.

In a recent article, Al Wynant (CEO of Eventinterface) said, “With events becoming more experienced-based, planners are now...engaging attendees through the full lifecycle of the event.” This engagement can be made possible by enveloping attendees in a venue that has been themed to create a cohesive and convincingly unique experience for all. It’s not just about the décor, when it comes to structuring a successful event – another important consideration is the ROI for attendees. Return on Investment, in many cases is completely dependent on the type of company, attendee profile, budget, and many other considerations. In some instances it may be enough to simply offer a visually striking venue and great entertainment, while in some cases it makes sense to offer more, especially if the money is there to back it up.

It’s not only the large scale companies that have the ability to produce a memorable event – with some careful planning and imagination, smaller budgets can be utilized to great effect. James Timpson of tech.co recommends starting the planning process by defining the message that the event will deliver: “Your objective will dictate how you will budget and you’ll be able to identify areas where you are can compromise to cut costs. By cleverly reducing costs in key areas, it will become possible to channel more cash toward the key aspects that make up the backbone of the event.